5 tips for developing top-flight enterprise mobile apps

The average smartphone has more computing power than NASA used to put a man on the moon, according to former Intel chief Paul Otellini.

What does that mean for the enterprise that allows BYOD and/or supplies mobile devices for employees? Those devices are being wasted if workers are just using them to check email and send text messages.

The best way to harness that processing power is developing and deploying enterprise apps designed for those gadgets. Enterprise app behemoth Salesforce offers a number of tips to help enterprises with this process.

First, enterprises should identify a problem in the workplace and solve that problem in a "mobile-first way." This means the app should be user-centric, not data centric; it should use available data unique to a mobile device, such as location; and it should minimize the number of inputs required to complete an action.

Second, the mobile app should give the employee "easy access to relevant and related information."

"Well-designed apps visually indicate the differences between types of information for immediate user feedback, often using mobile cards, and drilldowns to avoid cluttering the user interface and distracting from the primary record," explains Salesforce in an ebook.

Third, enterprises should develop apps so that typing is limited without limiting functionality. One way to do that is to use mobile friendly controls such as the slider, toggle buttons and spinners. But a great user experience would eliminate the need for typing altogether, Salesforce advises.

Fourth, the minimal viable product (MVP), which means the minimum requirements of the enterprise, should be made available as soon as possible to employees so they can provide feedback to the app developer. "Shipping the MVP frequently and often puts the end user in the middle of the design and development process. This way, the user feels as if they have had input into the app's design," the ebook notes.

And fifth, consumer apps have raised user expectations about the interface design and user experience, so enterprise app developers need to step up their game and get inspiration from multiple sources. Salesforce recommends that app developers use response design UI frameworks such as Bootstrap and Foundation, as well as design inspiration from sites such as Ads of the World and Behance.

Well-designed enterprise mobile apps can help enterprises make the transition to mobility "by reinforcing behavior and increase productivity, making the whole company more successful," Salesforce concludes.

For more:
- see Salesforce's article in AppsTechNews
- check out Salesforce's ebook (reg. req.)

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